1 The Muppet Mindset: So, You Think The Muppets Are Above Fart Jokes?

Oct 24, 2011

So, You Think The Muppets Are Above Fart Jokes?

So, You Think the Muppets Are Above Fart Jokes?

Justin H. Piatt - There has been a lot of buzz around the internet about the newest Muppet movie, The Muppets. A lot of positive, wonderful buzz, but it hasn't gone without its negative press either. While I would love to sit here and refute all of the negative comments that have been going around about the upcoming movie, I realize that I can't. I don't know that these people are wrong, just like they don't know that they're right. There is, however, one issue that can easily be proven false, and it is that topic which will be discussed in the following.

You may have heard several people complaining about Fozzie's "fart shoes" gag, as seen in the trailers for the new movie. Those people claim that the Muppets are above fart jokes or toilet humor. It is to this statement that I say... Really?

Join me, won't you, as we examine...


GREAT MOMENTS IN MUPPET FARTSTORY
or...
MUPPETS: THE STRAIGHT POOP
or...
FARTING IN THE TIME OF HENSON

...I came up with a lot of titles.

I'll preface this article by saying that no examples will be submitted from the last twenty years of Muppet productions. That would be too easy with obvious examples such as Miss Piggy's "I've gotta pee" line in Muppets From Space. Or half the lines in The Muppets' Wizard of Oz. No, the fart jokes contained in the following article will have come from BEFORE 1990!

*GASP*

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "MY GOD! Jim Henson would NEVER talk about potties!" or "The Muppets never did that!" or maybe even "Jim Henson farted?" Well, guess what. He did. ...Maybe.

The Great Muppet Caper
The first feature film directed by Jim Henson is a classic, a gem, and perhaps my favorite movie of all time. It's funny, it's sweet, and... there's a scene that takes place in a bathroom. Not only does the scene take place in the bathroom, but the Muppets are actually waiting (impatiently) to use said bathroom. And apparently they really, really, really have to go. They even break the door down!

Now, this scene is clever. It's funny. And it's about... bodily functions? Weird. But, there you have it. The Muppets are not above toilet humor. Do you really need more proof? Yes, you do.

The Muppets Take Manhattan
Ah, the Frank Oz directed film so dear to every Muppet fan's heart. Can you believe it? Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy are finally getting married. Not only that, but they're getting married on Broadway! It's like a dream come true! This is the Muppets. It's sweet, it's funny, and there's a real, live priest in it! There's a fart joke!

That’s right. There's a fart joke in it. Oh, well. Movie's ruined forever, right? Thanks for destroying the Muppets, Frank Oz, Jim Henson, and company! But, seriously, the moment when all the Muppets turn to see if Rowlf has let one rip is actually really, really funny, isn't it? You didn't mind it at all, did you? Nope, not until I pointed it out to you.

Dog City
Everyone loved Dog City. The Jim Henson Hour may have failed, but Dog City remains one of the best pieces from Jim's later career. It also has a lot of innuendo in it, and at least two toilet jokes. Who can forget the following exchanges?

Colleen: "Quick! Where's the nearest hydrant?"
Ace Yu: "No time for that now. Can't you see we've got a fire to fight?"

Or how about when Ace and Colleen nearly drove into the river?
Colleen: "Oh, my. We almost got wet!"
Ace Yu: "What do you mean, 'almost'?"

There. See? More of this filth!

Labyrinth
Okay. This isn't a Muppet movie. But isn't it a beloved favorite of the 1980s? The Jim Henson directed film from a Jim Henson story is fondly remembered by many. But, oh, yeah, there are no less than 70 fart jokes in this movie. That's right... 70. Jim Henson made a movie with more than 70 fart jokes in it. (Or, more accurately, a movie with one joke of 70 farts.) Crazy, right? But I bet you still love the movie.

See? The Muppets are not above fart jokes, and there are numerous other examples that we could cite (A Muppet Family Christmas, anyone?). Thing is, when the Muppets do do them (tee hee), they're usually fairly clever. Based on the context of the "fart shoes" gag, I'm fairly certain this is still the case. In my opinion, there's nothing wrong with fart jokes or toilet humor if they're done well (most are not--see Shrek). And, seriously, ONE joke in this movie is going to turn you off to the whole thing?

The Muppets have always been about low brow humor mixed with high brow humor mixed with a lot of heart. That's what I expect from the Muppets, and that's what I expect from The Muppets, and that's why the Muppets are not above fart jokes.

To conclude this article, I will borrow a word from Jason Segel : Lawyered.
 






The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, ryguy102390@gmail.com

16 comments:

  1. Great article. I read a few negative articles this past week and I had to stop myself. I want to go into the movie with a clear mind and just enjoy. Very glad to see this in my Reader this morning.

    ReplyDelete
  2. THANK YOU for this post. :)

    Its always good (and refreshing) to hear from someone on the Internet who is NOT ignorant.

    I agree with Stelle.

    I am really looking forward to the film.

    I just hope all of those negative articles have not ruined the film's chances of doing well.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Don't forget that Fraggle Rock had Sidebottom and a bunch of Whoopie cushion based jokes in Boober's Dream.

    Also, wasn't there a Whoopie cushion in the list of things needed to catch those thieves red-handed?

    ReplyDelete
  4. What color are their hands now?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Edit to add:

    Surely the whole point of the 'Fart shoes' joke is to point out how annoyingly low-brow those kinds of jokes are? In all the trailers so far (I think) its been met with blank stares or "Really?" reactions from the rest of the cast, so surely it falls under some sort of satire or parody rule that lets them get away with it. I don't think the joke is in the farting shoes themselves, so much as in the fact The Muppets are saying, "So recently you've assumed that this is the only thing funny in comedy...Come and watch us and you'll see that's not true."

    Maybe everyone's so uncomfortable because that moment in the trailer made them feel guilty for having allowed Shrek-style humour to take over in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
  6. That line from "The Muppets Take Manhattan" was the first thing I thought of when all of this silliness over the Fart Shoes joke erupted.

    "Do you smell what I smell?"

    (Muppets turn to Rowlf)

    "Why does everybody always blame dogs?"

    ReplyDelete
  7. You forgot to mention the Muppet Meeting film "Let's Give the Dam Break".

    "You need to see a man about his what?"

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think the real issue here is the word "fart", not the act of flatulence itself, and how people do commonly associate that word with the Muppets.

    ReplyDelete
  9. sorry, I meant "and how people do not commonly associate that word with the Muppets."

    ReplyDelete
  10. jason himself defended the Fozzie joke yesterday, stating: “I think the setup of that joke is that the Muppets (say they) would never make cheap jokes — and then they do the fart line. To be honest, that’s somebody not getting the premise of that joke.”

    AGREED, Jason, AGREED.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The problem with farts in general is that the Shrek franchise, as much as I do enjoy the films, killed the fart joke. So much so that the fourth movie didn't even have one. I was quite shocked NOT to see one!

    Now, Fozzie's the kind of character who is a pretty low brow hack of a comedian, yet doesn't realize it. He resorts to old standbys like Rubber Chickens, Pies in the Face and, of course, the Whoopie Cushion. Always has been, always will be. No problems with that joke at all, for me.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I agree with the joke 100 percent. It's clever. I meant to say something about Kermit's set-up in the article, but... well, didn't. I'm glad to hear Jason Segel has commented on it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I dont like that Fozzie is farting all the time in the moment because he wouldn;t do taht but is here. bUT i DO LIKE THEM mUPPETS SO WILL BE WATCH THeM ANYWAYS.

    ReplyDelete
  14. The point was made that the point really isn't the flatulence itself, it's the word "fart". In the GMC scene, They didn't say bathroom, they said restroom. In Muppets Take Manhattan, they do not say "do you smell what I smell?", Dabney Coleman, in talking about smelling a hit, says, "Wait a minute. I smell something!", reffering to a hit.

    The argument is about semantics, which is very important. The intent is not in question. The Muppets have ALways been bawdy, the flaw is in the presentation.

    With the I have to pee joke, and Fozzie with his finger in his nose, in Muppets From Space, we also get the gem,

    Tambor: (to Gonzo)You have no nostrils, how do you smell?
    Rizzo: Awful. Trust me. I'm his roommate.

    It's about setting up the audience for one thing, and letting their own brains make the leap from that to the equally elegant punchline. Fart Shoes hits too on the head.

    ReplyDelete
  15. The joke in Muppets Take Manhattan was a sly wink. The joke in the new movie was just low brow and cheap. It's a question of execution.

    ReplyDelete